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Q. I am getting married in New York City in June. The wedding is black tie, but I’m struggling with picking a bridesmaids’ color. Neither me nor my fiance have “favorite” colors. In addition to having to be tea-length or longer, two of my bridesmaids are blonde and tan, and the other two are dark-haired and fair. To complicate things, one will also be in her last trimester of pregnancy! 
-Color Uncoordinated

A. Don’t worry, you don’t have to use a favorite color for the bridesmaid dresses.  The greatest gift you can give to your bridesmaids is to choose a simple color in an elegant, simple design that perhaps, cross your fingers, they can actually wear again.

79769 Bk0001Start with shopping online at sites like, and and visit several local shops and showrooms in the city that design bridesmaid dresses like Serafina, Thread and CK Bradley. Also, what colors are the groomsmen wearing?  Are they wearing suits or classic tuxes?  Will they be wearing a colored tie, which you can also play off the bridesmaid’s dresses? And what are the colors for the wedding reception and flowers? This may help you make your decision.

Ask your bridesmaids for suggestions as well.  Plus, you can always make it easy and choose black.  Every woman should own a great little black dress. And one last tip, don’t assume that each of your bridesmaids has to wear the same style dress.  Choose a color, fabric and, depending on each girl’s body shapes, perhaps offer 2 or more styles or at least offer an empire waist option for your pregnant friend.

shown here, the Holly silk faille dress from ($295) comes in several colors and is flattering on many figures

Q. I am wearing a tea-length bridesmaid dress in the middle of January.  What type of coat can I wear?  The dress is lower in the back.   
-Cover Confusion    

A. It’s best to look for a dressy jacket that is slightly cropped and doesn’t go below the hips or choose a 3/4 length that is the same length as the dress.

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left to right: Nanette Lepore Turkish Delight Jacket, $415 at; Elie Tahari Riley Wool/Cashmere Coat, $798 at; Trina Turk ‘Ellsworth’ Satin Jacket, $498 at

Q. I’m hoping you can help me! My cousin is getting married on November 5, 2006 at 4pm on Perdido Beach, Florida. What is appropriate to wear? Nothing has been said re: dress formality. While it’s the Fall season, it’s still the beach and should be warm and I’m unsure of the appropriate clothes and shoes to wear!
-Beach Be-Wonder

A. Since it’s on the beach, my first choice would be a dress that is cocktail length skimming just below your knees, second choice would be a skirt and top. Don’t wear pants—boring for a wedding and you want to move freely on the beach. Choose a light fabric like cotton or silk jersey, but skip linen since the season for that is over. Look for a dress that perhaps has short or 3/4 sleeves or wear one that is strapless, sleeveless or has spaghetti straps and bring along a little fitted cardigan or wrap. Since it’s a late afternoon into evening affair, feel free to wear pretty prints. And be sure to wear flats or low-heeled sandals and assume you’ll be taking them off in the sand so be sure to have nice painted toenails.

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from left to right: Nicole Miller Tiki Print Dress, $310 at; Single Wrap Dress, $268 at; Lumiani Quarto, $89.95 at; J. Reneé Pixie, $78.95 at

Q. I want to wear a beautiful Black Linen Suit to a wedding in Houston, Texas. The temps are still reaching 80 degrees and to me that is still warm. What’s the BLACK linen rule?
-Linen After Labor Day

A. For many parts of the country, linen is usually packed away after Labor Day. For southern states, you can stretch it through October due to warmer temperatures, but as we enter November, it’s time to put away the linen in any color unless you‘re headed on a Caribbean cruise or a night out in Hawaii.

Q. I am attending a semi formal party in the next two weeks. Although I am in the South (Atlanta, GA) it is quite cold. Can I wear pantyhose with open toed shoes and a cocktail dress? The dress is maroon. If I can wear hose what color/style do you recommend? Any advice you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
-Hosiery how-to

A. Either choose to match the dress color with a sheer patterned maroon color or go for a black patterned hose to give a little oomph to the dress. You can wear open toe shoes with hosiery as long as you don’t wear a sandal foot style hose and tuck any visible seams underneath your toes.

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Jonathan Aston Stringer pantyhose (left), $14 at
Jonathan Fleur tights (right), $14.99 at (also available in burgundy)

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